[Review] New “Smile” movie introduces modern aspects to the horror genre with creepy visuals


Tribune News Service

Sosie Bacon stars in “Smile.” (Walter Thomson/Paramount Pictures/TNS)

Mariana Neri Sapori, Writer

Written and directed by Parker Finn, the new psychological horror movie “Smile” was released in theaters on Sept. 30. “Smile” is based on Finn’s short film “Laura Hasn’t Slept,” where Australian actress Caitlyn Stasey played the role of the scared victim named Laura in both movies. Initially introduced with a full trailer on June 22, the movie was a success amongst horror fans because of the excitement that was brought by all the advertisements made.

This movie includes other characters such as movie star Jessie T. Usher, playing Trevor, Kyle Gallner playing Joel and Rob Morgan playing Robert. Sosie Bacon, who plays Dr. Rose Cotter, does an amazing job at delivering the fragile and damaged act due to people not believing her.

In the trailer, it is revealed that Dr. Rose Cotter is a psychiatrist who stumbles across Laura, a patient claiming to have unusual events happen to her that cannot be explained. After witnessing the tragic death of her patient right before her eyes, she is left traumatized seeing Laura’s sinister smile before death.

Since Laura had died while being possessed by a monster, the creature needed a new host. Unfortunately for the doctor, she was the only one who witnessed the death of her patient meaning she was also the only one that was susceptible for the creature to possess. The disturbing events that Laura had once experienced began happening to the doctor, beginning the series of creepy visuals of smiling faces that weren’t there.

Rose tries to reach out for help many times but is ignored by her friends and her husband, which leads her peers to question her sanity. Her hallucinations of the “smile” begin to alter her reality and everyday tasks which creates conflict between her relationships. After seeking a therapist, she decides she needs to face her own fears and battle these “monsters” herself.

Rose has a limited time to live before the “smile” possesses her. The movie revolves around her journey to figure out how to put a stop to the inhumane creature tormenting her before it can torment anyone else as well as dealing with her own past trauma that influences the choices she makes.

The happy, colorful mental hospital is a symbol in the movie that contradicts the dark and twisted nature of “Smile,” by showing multiple patients that play into her hallucinations by showing signs of insanity, meanwhile the environment around them remains calm.

Many of the horror elements used are bloody and disturbing, so it is not for those with a weak stomach. There are many scenes that will make viewers squint and anticipate a jumpscare. The 17 million dollar budget was well used for the amazing scenery and camera work done in this film.

Although, there are other movie critics who disagree with the way the movie was made. Some of these critics say the jumpscares were quite predictable and dislike the running time for the movie, claiming that an hour and fifty-five minutes is too long for the storyline.

Other movie critics and viewers believe that the slow-burn timing was perfect to build suspense with the eerie music and the uncomfortable amount of smiles. The rating of this R-rated movie is 78% with positive reviews, according to the Rotten Tomatoes website.

While watching some scenes, my body physically cringed at the horrible sights and bloody aspects that were portrayed in the movie. I began to feel more agitated and scared as the movie went on. If you enjoy adrenaline, this movie is for you.

Due to its popularity, ‘Smile’ will continue to remain in theaters until it is next available on streaming platforms such as Paramount Plus on Nov. 14. The director and actors along with the others who contributed to making this movie clearly showed their effort to explain how the horror genre can still be good in modern times.

“Smile” may seem like an unoriginal horror movie at first, but the ending is full of plot twists making it exciting for viewers. The movie did a good job of playing into the generic horror movie genre while adding its own twist to it.